Behavioral Research Blog

How to study ataxia

Posted by G. Smit on Jul 3, 2015

Gait and motor performance are studied extensively in neuroscience research, which is not surprising when you come to think of it, because it is affected in many neurological diseases. Ataxia is a common problem in Parkinson’s disease (PD), and many early onset Alzheimer’s disease patients (AD) also deal with it. Motor skills are also affected in patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

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Topics: Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's Disease, gait analysis, ErasmusLadder, motor learning, reflexive motor learning, motor performance, cerebellum, motor control

Gait research: let your animals walk freely

Posted by G. Smit on Apr 15, 2015

Researchers use different ways to analyze gait in animals. Basically we can distinguish two methods: one can either observe or measure gait in an unrestricted manner, or one chooses a forced manner, such as a treadmill or treadwheel.

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Topics: Parkinson's Disease, CatWalk XT, gait analysis, spinal cord injury, ataxia, locomotion

10 Innovative behavioral studies on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

Posted by G. Smit on Mar 17, 2015

Tomorrow the 12th International Conference on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases (ADPD) in Nice, France starts. Last week I blogged about a study on Ginkgo biloba and Alzheimer's, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to highlight some more studies and get you in the mood for the conference. This blog post features 10 interesting studies that use innovative techniques to study models of AD and PD and important underlying neuronal mechanisms.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Alzheimer's disease, Video tracking, zebrafish, Danio rerio, DanioVision, Parkinson's Disease, learning and memory, rats, CatWalk XT, gait analysis, locomotion, top 10, ErasmusLadder, reflexive motor learning, motor performance

Side effects of L-DOPA investigated in parkinsonian rats

Posted by G. Smit on Feb 16, 2015

Just recently, I blogged about a Parkinson’s disease (PD) study that compared the locomotion of Parkinsonian rats to those of human patients using automated gait analysis. Following up on that, this time I would like to highlight two recent Parkinson’s studies that use video tracking for their behavioral analysis. These studies specifically investigate the long-term effects of L-DOPA or levopoda, a common clinical treatment for PD, with which many patients struggle.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, Parkinson's Disease, open field test, PhenoTyper, behavior recognition

Parkinson’s & gait impairment: comparing rats and humans

Posted by G. Smit on Feb 5, 2015

When you hear about Parkinson’s disease (PD), the first thing that comes to mind is probably impaired movement. And that there is no cure. As PD is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases, you can imagine why it is the focus of many drug development and clinical studies.

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Topics: Parkinson's Disease, rats, CatWalk XT, gait analysis, locomotion

Most and least popular posts of 2013 (animal behavior research)

Posted by G. Smit on Dec 31, 2013

It seems inevitable: the end-of-year lists. And yes, here at the Noldus blog, you can find them too. I did not want leave 2013 behind us without mentioning our three most popular blog posts on animal behavior research of this year. While 13 might not be a lucky number for some, we have had a great year in which we saw a lot of growth in zebrafish research and the combination of optogenetics and behavior. Not surprisingly, these two topics showed up in our top 3.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Video tracking, The Observer XT, animal behavior research, video observation, fish, zebrafish, Danio rerio, DanioVision, Parkinson's Disease, rats, birds, CatWalk XT, gait analysis, arthritis, monkey, locomotion, 2013

Circadian rhythmicity and other behavioral studies at the Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience (Washington State University)

Posted by G. Smit on Jul 9, 2013

Many labs use video tracking software to increase the efficiency of their research. In fact, EthoVision XT video tracking software has just reached an impressive milestone: 2000 sites worldwide. I spoke with Dr. Ilia Karatsoreos, who placed the order, and found out that he was helping to furnish a completely new facility at the Washington State University, and does some very interesting research. (Image courtesy of Lara Swimmer Photography.)

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Morris water maze, mice, Video tracking, social behavior research, Parkinson's Disease, open field test, anxiety research, rats, elevated plus maze, CatWalk XT, circadian rhytmicity, metabolic disorder, sleep disorder, obesitas

The power of zebrafish in the study on Parkinson’s Disease

Posted by G. Smit on May 22, 2013

Zebrafish have proven to be a good model for Parkinson’s Disease (PD) research, as I already wrote about in Zebrafish with Parkinson’s. They express several highly conserved genes that are associated with PD. Lopes de Fonseca et al. recently published about another interesting protein that has been linked to cases of PD in humans that run in families (familial).

Zebrafish homologue to human PD gene
Point mutations in ATP13A2 have been linked to several familial cases of PD, and zebrafish also express this gene. In fact, it has a high degree of homology with the human version. This particular study showed that it also plays a crucial role in embryonic development, and that partial knockdown of this gene affected zebrafish larvae behaviorally.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, zebrafish, Danio rerio, DanioVision, Parkinson's Disease

Zebrafish with Parkinson's

Posted by G. Smit on Mar 28, 2013

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is one of the main neurodegenerative diseases and many researchers are involved in investigating this disease and developing treatments. Still, the underlying mechanisms of PD remain largely unknown. Zebrafish turn out to be a big help in this research, as researchers from the Erasmus Medical Center (Rotterdam, the Netherlands) recently proved. They created a new model for PD in zebrafish, getting us one step closer to a better understanding of this debilitating disease.

Zebrafish model for Parkinson's

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, zebrafish, Danio rerio, DanioVision, Parkinson's Disease

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